Tuesday, June 18, 2024
Sitting Ducks

Sitting Ducks

by Mark Warner
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Buy This Book * More books by Michael Bedard

Each day at the Colossal Duck factory, a steady supply of ducks are hatched, destined for the plates of hungry alligators. One duck is taken home by a worker, and they make friends. But in an alligator-eat-duck world, can such a friendship survive?

Teaching Ideas and Resources:


  • The ducks come from the ‘Colossal Duck Factory’. What does ‘colossal’ mean? Can you think of any synonyms?
  • Who created the Colossal Duck Factory? Why did they make it? Write a story about the beginning of the company and why it was created.
  • The first page ends with the sentence, ‘Rarely did anything go wrong’. Could you use this as the last line on the first page of a new story?
  • Role-play the conversation that might have taken place between the duck and the alligator when they first met.
  • Can you find any words in the story / illustrations that you have not seen before (e.g. contemplated, curiosity, awed, decoy, surveyed)? Can you find out what they mean? Can you think of synonyms?
  • Retell the story from the point of view of the duck. Retell the story from the point of view of the alligator. How would their two points of view differ?
  • Watch this animated retelling of the story. Could you record your own narration?


  • What different 2D and 3D shapes can you spot in the illustrations?
  • Look at the clocks in the pictures. What times do they say?


  • Find out what ducks and alligators really like to eat. Can you create some food chains that include them?
  • Look at the shadows in the pictures. How are shadows formed?


  • Use ICT to create the menu from the Decoy Cafe.
  • A ‘Sitting Ducks’ game was created for the PS2. Could you use a tool like 2Do It Yourself or Scratch to create your own game?
  • The characters in this book were used as the inspiration for a cartoon (see the Youtube video below). Could you make your own animation?

Design Technology

  • The Colossal Duck Factory has levers and conveyor belts? What do these do? Can you design a machine that features levers and conveyor belts?
  • Can you find out about how machines are used in different factories?
  • Plan and create duck and crocodile puppets. Could you retell the story using your puppets?
  • Design an alligator for the duck and a duck mask for the alligator to disguise themselves.


  • When he is first hatched, the duck wanders through a forest of machinery. Could you design a maze for a friend to complete, in which a duck has to escape from somewhere?


  • The little duck gets lost one might. Can you draw a map to help him to find his way home?
  • Can you draw a map of Ducktown? What different places might be there?

Physical education

  • The duck and the alligator have a ‘crazy dance’ one evening. Could you plan and perform what this might have looked like?
  • Plan an exercise routine that will help the ducks to become stronger.


  • Look at the expressions on the faces of the ducks and alligators ?in each illustration. How are they feeling? Can you draw some human faces showing different types of emotion?

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